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April 2013

March 2013

Personal Insolvency in Ireland

100 Euro GirlBernie Goldbach in Cashel | My photo of a happier note.

THE IRISH CABINET has approved guidelines to be used by banks and other creditors when meeting citizens with claims of insolvency. Although some of the guidelines suggest penal servitude to opposition politicians, I know they also reflect reality around our kitchen table.

Even before government guidelines have been published, the Free Legal Advice Centre reports, "banks have refused to allow people who have made debt settlements to spend money on dental work, car reparis, or after-school activities for their children." [1]

Another leaked guideline involves childcare expenses. If the job taken doesn't offset the cost of child care incurred, the current draft guidelines allow for banks to decide "a resonable standard of living" for people entering debt-settlement arrangements. [2] When you're sitting in front of a bank manager with your spreadsheet and grocery shopping receipts, you'll probably cave in to the demand to cutting child care if that's suggested. [3] And you might have to cut your Sky TV subscription and give up a family pet for adoption.

Sunday Newsround with Personal Insolvency Inside

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Urgent! Please read ASAP

Smoke Alarm ClockBernie Goldbach in Cashel | Alarm clock that wakes up to a fire alarm.

"That's what gets done, of course. The urgent," writes Seth Godin. I've an attitude about e-mail urgency.

In fact, I'm suspicious of emails containing exclamation points. I tend to sneer at them. I used to set my Outlook toast to sound a claxon whenever an URGENT email arrived in my in-box. That annoyed a lot of people whle also making the point that overusing the imperative makes you no better than the boy who cried "Wolf!" too often in the pasture.

I've also a well-honed habit of pigeon-holing my e-mail into small windows of opportunity during the day and not watching the mail counter tick upwards while I'm doing real work. That personal work practise evolved in the heels of getting too many urgent requests for attention.

Bernie Goldbach tries to teach the essense of GTD in the creative multimedia degree at the Limerick School of Art and Design.

Finding: Teaching Leads to the Good Life

One More Time And You Will LearnBernie Goldbach in LSAD-Clonmel | Photo of Mike Kiely and Brian Lanigan.

EVEN THOUGH I am stuck in a job that has proven to lead to lower salaries the longer I remained in it, my career in teaching will lead me to "the good life" according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Statistics don't lie: out of 14 major career categories, teachers are No. 2 in overall wellbeing, trailing only physicians. The Gallup Blog says, "Teachers have high wellbeing because they rate their lives highly and are in great emotional health, which are two key subcomponents of wellbeing. In those two categories, teachers also rank No. 2, beating out professional workers, nurses, business owners, and managers and executives, among others."

With the current hiring freeze in the Irish education sector and with normal retirements pushing teachers out of the classroom before the onset of senility, Ireland will need new blood in classrooms soon. Unfortunately, structural changes to the teaching pipeline (i.e., forced pay cuts for newly qualified teachers and low starting salaries for third level lecturers) means there is less excitement in Ireland about entering the teaching profession now. So the Gallup data could change things.

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Sharing Photos Snapped by Young Creatives

One of the easiest ways to sustain the energy behind a website is to show young people how to update the site on their own. We can let some of our young people use old cameraphones to take and upload images to Flickr where they will embed to our website.


Sharing ways to amplify the creative message of young people by echoing things heard at ground zero.

Productivity and an impossible schedule

TimeBernie Goldbach in LIT-Clonmel | My photo from Cork.

UPDATED ON April 10, 2013.

I'M TRYING TO figure out how to squeeze a free 20 minutes out of a normal afternoon.

It takes me that long to cobble together a blog post but during a normal academic day, I don't have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time--except the blocks of time I spend in the classroom.

This is the worst academic schedule I have ever endured--but I won't bore you with the details. I know that by writing this short post during our Spring Break that I will have alerted people to the need to equitably balance workload.

Part of the difficulty I'm experiencing arises from a three structural changes that evolved on the heels of major decisions made by the Irish Minister for Education three years ago.

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When You Find Porn Sites in History

How Old Were You WhenBernie Goldbach in Cashel | Screenshot from Mashable.

I HAVE STARTED preparing for the day when I discover porn in the browsing history of our pre-teen's tablets. I've asked for background research from my Audioboo community.

I know that one of the biggest mistakes I could make is to punish a young person when discovering evidence of pornography sites or sexting.  Taking away a teen's computer because they were exploring "may send the message that sexual feelings and exploration are wrong and bad" advise sex education teachers. "Rather, as a parent your intent needs to be to instill a healthy view of sex and belief that sexual desire and exploration of sexual thoughts and feelings are healthy". That's the advice of Pediatrics for Parents.

How Old Were You When Discovered Porn

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When a Spunout Web Page Isn't Worth Six Figures

Bernie Goldbach in County Kildare | Common screenshot of Threesome search query.

WHEN SOMETHING GOES from the front page of a Sunday paper [1] to a 30-minute discussion with half a million listeners, it's easy for the message to take on a life of its own. That's how I read the current dust-up involving advice about threesomes published [2] by the youth site Spunout in Ireland.

It's always a problem when you lose control of your message and at the moment, that's happened with Spunout in mainstream media. The message has become a debate on whether the government should fund advice on threesomes offered by a well-intentioned charity. It doesn't matter that the item in question is three years old. It's guilt by association.

I used my American accent to ask my phone "Spunout Threesomes" and the phone returned the screenshot in this blog post. If I listed the text of the search query on my blog, Google would not allow me to receive Adwords revenue from any part of my domain.

And that, in a nutshell, is the same issue facing Spunout. I think it's a choice of pulling the threesome advice from the Spunout domain or risking the Irish Health Service Executive reducing its annual grant.

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Annotating Audio on the Fly

X10 ICD MX20 connectionBernie Goldbach in LSAD-Clonmel | My photo of a line-out.

I LISTEN TO SEVERAL HOURS of pre-recorded audio every week and I'm interested in annotating audio on the fly.

The perfect solution for me when listening to audio while mobile would be to tap a button as a segment worth annotating played in my earbuds--and then being able to pull that annotated segment into an audio editing package. This would probably involve working with WAVE files and the Broadcast Wave Format. That's how I work some sound files on my desktop. I use Sony Sound Forge 10 to mark specific segments of clips for editing and reimagination. The Sound Forge software displays the time codes and annotations of everything I mark with the software.

But as audio engineers know, the BWF files appear in ways when using different programs to read them. While I might see the marker made by my mixing deck, I won't see any other text along with the marker. So it's often difficult to remember what to do with the annotated segment.

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Presentation Primary School Clonmel Easter Newsletter 2013

Cover of Easter NewsletterWords by Patricia Mulcahy | Colouring by Mia Goldbach.

HERE'S OUR EASTER Newsletter for 2013 (Thank you Noelle :). It details recent events at Clonmel Presentation Primary School.

A hard copy was sent home with each child this afternoon and I'm posting it to Bernie's Blog TODAY!!. I've just learned how. Very simple. Attach to an email and off I go! This is one very happy IT coordinator. Please enjoy our news :)

Production Notes follow.

Milestone number one: Email an image / file to a site: Tick!

Advantages: We've also made the website more current, less cumbersome, more user friendly :) Thanks Bernie!

Technical Note: Sometimes content in Word documents shift around when opened in different versions of Word. That's one reason Adobe Acrobat is often used to distribute newsletters and formal proposals.

Download Presentation Primary School Clonmel Easter Newsletter 2013.doc

Editor's Note: I walked away from Tricia as she independently sent her post from Outlook to Typepad. While in the car, I saw the blog post publish. A few hours later, our junior infant asked that I illustrate this blog post with Mia's colouring of the newsletter she brought home. Kids like to have their stuff published online.  ^BG

Planning a Primary School Revision Session

Cousins PaddingPatricia Mulcahy in Clonmel | Photo from Bernie's photostream.

WE HAVE JUST started looking at a way to revise a static web site and to make it more appealing to teachers and to parents in the Presentation Primary School in Clonmel, County Tipperary.

We're trying to make the website more current. They problems we have had in the past were that it was too cumbersome to update the site. What we are now doing is exploring ways to allow teachers to update the site on their own once they are comfortable with the user friendly editing tools.

In fact this blog post is being sent by email to the web site with nothing in between--straight from email to publish. Most teachers are very comfortable with email and require very little training in web writing if e-mail is a publishing channel.

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